Mathematician Terry Tao has devoted two seconds of his efficient attention to putting large numbers into perspective using the Mankiw rescaling; that is, $100m to $3 or the size of the US Federal Budget relative to an average family’s budget. The idea is to take big numbers a divide them by 100m/3. Tao does this for a ton of stuff in order to put things into perspective. He writes “This is certainly not an advanced application of mathematics by any means, but I still found the results to be instructive.”

The end (implied) conclusion: we should not be too worried about the size of the government or the level of total public debt nor how rich the richest people are. But there looks like way too much spent on defense and related matters and putting the notional value of anything financial into these things gives a bloody big number.

Oh yeah, if you do this for broadband in Australia you get $1,290.

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